Archive for the ‘Tips’ Category

Notes from the Blizzard Developer Q&A, No. 2

Blizzard held another Q&A session with its developers recently, taking forum questions from interested parties, just like last time. Same as last time, you can read the whole set of questions and answers on the official forums, but we’ll take a look at some of the new and interesting ones:

Q: Why can’t we have a pure, straight up, unadulterated Death Match style Battleground? – ???? ???? (Taiwan), Gulantor (North America/ANZ)

A: We think Battlegrounds work better when there is a goal that the team can work towards. Huge melees with lots of players tend to be chaotic by nature so there is less room for skill to influence the outcome. It feels more random, and the more random the system is, the more arbitrary the rewards will feel. It might be something we try someday.

For example, emergency buttons are balanced around the assumption that only a few players are ganged up against you. Even in the 5v5 Arena bracket, it’s very difficult to survive being focused by so many players at once, so you feel like you don’t have many options. There is a reason that most of our Arena attention is on 3v3 – it just feels the best.

You know, I had been wondering about this one too back when I was spending more time in battlegrounds – some people would love the “in and out” nature of having a battleground they could hop into and hop out of just to grab some honor in a short period, and in a game that’s perpetually ongoing that they could play for as much free time as they have without worrying their departure will negatively impact a team.

At the same time, the sheer number of empty multiplayer game servers in the world kind of tell the tale that when there’s no one interested in playing that all-out deathmatch style game, the few people who do want to play would have a horrible time doing it – or worse, they’ll just give up because it’s not the epic experience they’d actually want. After all – I’m sure the people asking the question are thinking of massive 25 v. 25 battle arenas with fast re-spawning, not a 3 v. 3 match.

Q: CC used to be the big thing for arena, but now it’s all about damage. Is it the direction you are taking at the moment? – Thatis (Taiwan)

A: If crowd control really was as weak in Arenas as you’re claiming, then Holy paladins would be the healer of choice and Resto druids wouldn’t have much of a role. But the Entangling Roots and Cyclone of the druid make a huge difference in Arena, and we see a lot of healing druids.

Ultimately, we think there has to be a place for both crowd control and damage. It can be just as frustrating to be chained from a fear to a poly to a stun without having an answer as it can be to die to two dudes killing you in a few GCDs without an answer. We don’t want Arena in particular to be all about which comp has the best layering of crowd controls that don’t share diminishing returns, because that greatly lowers the number of viable comps out there (and why rogue-mage-priest dominated in earlier seasons). We have taken steps this season already to nerf both out of control damage and excessive crowd control for some classes.

The best thing you can do is just keep providing feedback when you think something is broken. Many other players will disagree with you, and at times so will we. The signal to noise ratio for PvP balance is frankly always going to be bad, and the design calls are extremely subjective. We are constantly amazed that some players playing very powerful specs perceive themselves as weak or interpret very gentle nerfs as soul-crushing. That doesn’t mean that we’re never going to listen, but it does mean the burden of convincing us something is broken is going to be high, probably higher than it is for PvE.

Ouch – holy blowoff, batman! Although I can’t say I disagree here. I think Blizzard is acquising the point that they’re paying more attention to damage, but they’re trying to strike the balance between damage and crowd control. I disagree that seeing a lot of resto druids somehow means that holy paladins aren’t the healers of choice in battlegrounds (that’s like saying “hey, the fact that a exists means there must be less of b,”) but I see their point. Balance is what’s important, and they’re always open to your feedback.

I hope the person asking the question got that same message, because I could see how the tone at the beginning is kind of a diss. A loving one, but a diss nonetheless!

Q: Can I hear your thoughts of the survival abilities of the Warlock on PvP? – Mccoll (Korea)

A: Overall, we think they’re fine. Warlocks in PvP often compare themselves to Shadow priest, and to be fair, Shadow priests have some very potent emergency buttons, particularly Dispersion. Warlocks have good self-healing (which also to be fair, was nerfed recently), abilities like Demonic Circle and fears that are good for both offense and defense. Once Shadow priests lose their defensive dispel capabilities, we think they will be less versatile and their entire package will be more comparable to warlocks.

I love this question only because it was asked. I remember the days when warlocks were unstoppable damage and destruction machines in arenas. If you had a lock on your team, you were pretty much guaranteed to win, and if you had one on your team and another on the other team, it came down to who had the most resilience. Thankfully, no more.

So – this set of Q&A questions were pretty heavy on the PVP side of things. If you’re a heavy PVP’er, what do you think of Blizzard’s responses and the questions they selected to respond to? What would you have asked if you had the opportunity? Leave us a comment and let us know.

What to do when Good Guildies Go Bad

Each week over at The Blog Azeroth Forums, the community comes together around a shared blog topic – interested WoW bloggers can pick up the topic and make posts on their own sites to respond to it, and all of the responses are collected and linked at TwistedNether.net. “What to do when Good Guildies Go Bad” is this week’s topic!

This week’s shared topic at Blog Azeroth resonated with me specifically:

What do you do when a normally good guildmate performs poorly or behaves badly? Your rock solid tank comes to raid ungemmed, your master mage dips down into pre-cata dps numbers several nights in a row or your best healer can’t seem to keep from going oom 2 minutes into any fight. What do you do? The obvious answer is shoot the hostage but…

It’s been a while since I’ve been in the kind of position to really gripe about this, but I’m going to take a different approach – not just one around DPS or poor performance in raids and instances, but also when it comes to behavior in general. I definitely have experience with guildies who generally behave badly and can’t bring themselves to either just be considerate to their guildmates or who are just so obnoxious in general that they’re difficult to deal with.

First thing’s first – let’s talk about the kind of guild member I’m thinking of here. Sure, there are plenty who mean well but do poorly in raids and instances because of one thing or another – bad gear, improperly gemmed, using the wrong weapon, poorly spec’d. You know those folks. Some of them may be a bit defensive when called out on their errors (after all, no one wants to be told they’re wrong) but more often than not they’re willing to learn from their mistakes and improve their game if you bring it up to them in a police and reasonable way. These people aren’t the ones I’m talking about.

I’m talking about the kind that constantly link their items in guild chat just to show off what they’ve seen/picked up/looted lately, the kind that use guild chat as their personal trade chat or use it largely to talk to one other person, (the kind that use guild chat for the types of conversations that should happen in whispers, for example) the kind that can’t stop saying wonderful things about themselves and generally clog up guild chat or raid chat with their own self-aggrandizing banter.

They’re the type who are the most defensive when you call them out on their errors, because they simply can’t believe themselves capable of any wrong. They’re the type who will start whining about you when you bring up a way they can improve – no matter how nicely you do it – or build a massive conspiracy theory against them on behalf of you and your whole guild if they perform poorly in raids and find themselves benched.

Oh yes, I know this type of person very well. And admittedly, they’re not always the type who was “good” before they “went bad,” usually this type has always been bad, but they made friends somehow, right? So what do you do about them? Click the jump, let me offer some suggestions.

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Blizzard Unveils New Account Security Guide

Blizzard took the wraps off of a new account security guide yesterday, designed to give players both new and veteran a simple place to go to see all of Blizzard’s reccomendations on how to keep your account safe from the people who would – and they very much would – exploit it and snag your characters right out from under you.

The basics are clear: you know, use a strong password, make sure you don’t give out your account information, don’t use shady gold selling services, things like that. Then of course, the guide goes into exactly how badly you really do need an authenticator bound to your account, even if it’s the new free phone-in version. There’s absolutely no excuse not to have an authenticator at this point.

The guide goes the extra mile too, with a few handy tips on keeping your computer safe in general by making sure your operating system is up to date and all patched up, that you have some solid anti-malware utility installed and that it’s up to date.

Blizzard’s tips are good, and well worth reading even if you already know what you’re doing when it comes to account security. At the same time though, it takes more than reading them to make sure you’re safe – make sure you apply them. Use a solid password and get an authenticator for your account. Make sure you keep your computer safe from threats as well as your game, and make sure you never give out your account information, no matter who emails you asking for it.

MMO Champion’s Raiding Tactics Flowchart Makes Knowing Your Role Easy

Click the image above to embiggen and get a nice large version of the flowchart that you can, you know, bookmark or print out and put up next to your monitor, whatever it takes to remember your role in a raid or an instance.

The chart, which comes to us by way the fine folks at MMO Champion and was originally created by Aear, from guild Fierce Creatures of Bloodhoof-EU, does a really great job of boiling down raid responsibilities and roles into something that’s easy to follow and understand, regardless of the class you play – it’s really about the role that you play, and there are more than a few specific tips for people who play specific classes along the way.

Admittedly, these aren’t specific raid strats for specific instances or events or bosses – they’re general tips that, if you follow them 99% of the time, you’ll make out just fine in just about every dungeon or raid you join.

Blizzard’s Guild Advancement Guide Helps Guilds Master the Basics

I had meant to share this when it was a little newer, but Blizzard recently posted a Guild Advancement Guide to the new Community Site that explains the basics of guild leveling, achievements, reputation, and some general tips to help your guild do well in all of its endeavors, whether it involves raiding, instances, or just being social and trying to keep a motley crew of friends together and on speaking terms.

Of course the post really focuses on things like the Guild UI, perks and achievements, and the technical side of being in a guild or running a guild, but the tips are great for people who are confused about all of the changes to the guild system in Cataclysm and are looking for some more information about it.

Visualize Raid Strategy with BossBlueprint

If you have a difficult time explaining to your raid or your guild exactly how they should move and where they should stand in a given raid encounter, or if you have people in your raid or guild that are be far visual learners and just don’t seem to be getting the hang of what you’re saying, Boss Blueprint might be a handy tool to help you build those raid strategies and share them with your raid members before the encounter so there’s no confusion.

The site only has support at the moment for Blackwing Descent, Throne of the Four Winds, and Bastion of Twilight, and the boss encounters therein – it would be really useful if the tool added more encounters and raids, even older ones that some people still run as practice or for fun – but it makes sense that the most recent content would be of primary interest to the people using Boss Blueprint.

The app then lets you add raid icons, raid roles, and directional arrows and zones to the map to indicate where players with ranged DPS should stand, where the healers should be, and where the tanks should be in relation to the boss, and other mobs and elements of the encounter that players should be aware of are located. You can drop big red circles on the ground to indicate places where you shouldn’t stand, arrows to tell players where they should move, and more.

Once you’re all finished, you can save your blueprint and share it with your raid either by downloading the JPG and posting it somewhere yourself, or by embedding the blueprint in another Web site.

Blizzard Unveils World of Warcraft Game Guide

One of the features recently added to the new community site is Blizzard’s brand new World of Warcraft Game Guide, which is designed to give people who may not be familiar with the now 6-year-old MMORPG an idea of what the game is, what MMORPGs are, and what all the fuss is about.

The guide walks you through what World of Warcraft is, how you play the game and how to interact with people in the game, and offers a great resource for people who either just don’t get why people love this game, or – heaven forbid – just don’t know what the game is about or why you should play. The new guide also branches off to race and class specific pages so you can learn more about the races in Azeroth and the classes you can choose to play in the game.

In the end, it’s a perfect resource if you’re trying to entice new players, or if you’re faced off against someone who doesn’t seem to understand and you want something they can read so you don’t have to explain to them.

Cataclysm: What Should I Do First?

So the Cataclysm is here, and we’re all slowly coming up to speed, dodging queues, and trying to get ourselves logged in and playing so we can enjoy all of the new content. But have you thought about what you’re going to do as soon as you’re logged in and past the queue? Where you’ll go, or what you’ll train up?

Thankfully, the fine folks at WoW Insider have a great guide on some of the first things you’ll probably want to do when you log in to Cataclysm and you’re over that initial “whoa everything’s different” impression you’ll get.

Me? I made sure to train up the new secondary professions, grab Archeology, get my flying license so I could fly around in Old World, and immediately shipped off for the new starting areas! How about you?

Rawr Helps You Plan Your Gear Upgrades

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjRM5SUoOoQ[/youtube]

Back in the BC days it was easier to plan your gear upgrades – there were certain well agreed-upon items that were clearly best-in-slot, and just about every class knew which instance they should head to in order to get specific upgrades. With the flurry of 5-man instances, the addition of a couple of 10-man instances, and new hard-modes and heroics where the gear that drops from the same instance is of higher quality, it’s a little more difficult these days to really plan out your upgrades, especially if you’re looking at getting the gear required to get into some of those 25-man hard-modes.

Thankfully there’s Rawr, a tiny little portable app that you can use to test out upgrades, various enchants and gems, and to see how your stats will be affected if you choose one piece of gear over another potential one. Since Rawr is completely portable, once you download it you can drop it on a USB flash drive and carry it around with you. You may need to do the extensive Armory or WoWhead update once to make sure you have all of the source information for all of the items correct, but once you’ve done it, you can load your character from the Armory and see what items make the most sense for your character.

The video above is pretty long, but it’s an incredibly detailed tour of the application and all of the things you can do with it. Now that getting badges and getting geared up is as simple as running a few random dungeons using the Dungeon Finder, it’s more important than ever to know whether or not you want something when it drops from a boss, and to know what you should get when you have a bag full of badges and no idea what to spend them on. Download the app and give it a try!

Decrypt Macros with Fitzcairn’s Macro Explain-O-Matic

Macro_Explainer

There are tons of macro resources around the Web, most of them give you a basic description of what the macro does, who it’s for, and the macro text that you can copy/paste into your macro keyboard’s macro editor or into the WoW macro-editor. But what do you do if you come across a macro that’s supposed to be the best thing ever and make your life easier but you don’t really understand how it does what it’s supposed to do? Or even what it’s supposed to do?

Enter Fitzcairn’s Macro Explain-O-Matic! This handy little tool lets you paste in your macro text and get a step by step explanation of what the macro does at each line. It’s perfect if you want to take someone’s pre-written macro and edit it to do exactly what you want it to do or add steps to include more actions without breaking the macro.

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